Re-awakening Archives: Writing from Photographs, Portraits and Paintings


Monday 30th October 2023, 6:30pm-8:30pm, £15

Storysmith, 236 North Street, Bristol, BS3 1JD

What does it mean to be drawn or have our photos taken? 

What do these images tell us about visions of the past?

Join poet Jack Young and theatremaker Elinor Lower, co-editors of Haunting Ashton Court: A Creative Handbook for Collective History-Making, for a dynamic writing workshop exploring how to create characters and narratives from images and archives. Reawaken and subvert stories of the past through supported, creative writing exercises and experiments, inspired by their creative toolkit from Haunting Ashton Court (available to buy at this session and in-store at Storysmith).

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Haunting Ashton Court is part map, part torch, part shadow. It is an invitation to join us in thinking differently about history: which stories make the cut, who is given permission to tell them, and how we might re-shape them. The collection is 230 pages of stunning full-colour design by Patrick Fisher of Makina Books. It includes new writing commissions from Bristol-based artists Zakiya McKenzie, Tom Marshman and Saili Katebe responding to the gaps in the Ashton Court archives, a script from a live performance by young Bristolians and the creative toolkit which allows you to make your own journeys into collective history-making, with an afterword written by Professor Samantha Walton.

“A genuinely exciting piece of art: irreverent, radical, experimental and collaborative. I loved it. All artefacts of stolen and hoarded wealth must be haunted!” Yara Rodrigues Fowler, author of there are more things

History belongs to us, and if history as it is currently told hides our stories, we must remake it.

About Jack Young

Jack Young is a writer and socially-engaged artist living in Bristol. He writes hybrid work exploring land justice, queer ecologies and hauntings of landscape and archive. His debut chapbook is URTH (Big White Shed: 2022) and he co-edited the book Haunting Ashton Court: A Creative Handbook for Collective History-Making in 2023. He also co-hosts the literary podcast Tender Buttons in partnership with Storysmith Bookshop. As an educator, he works with young people using arts-based critical pedagogy, applied theatre and creative writing to explore themes ranging from fabulist approaches to reanimating the gaps and silences in historical archives, to queer ecologies and speculative fiction. He has worked with community spaces and cultural institutions in Barcelona, London and Bristol including MACBA, Institut Broggi, the Royal Academy, Horseman Museum, Tate, Gasworks, Spike Island, UWE Bristol, Acta Theatre and Artspace Lifespace.

About Elinor Young

Elinor Lower is a Bristol-based writer, theatremaker, director and participatory artist. Across multiple disciplines, their work wrestles with and celebrates text, archive, rules, tenderness, joy, risk and teamwork. They collaborate a lot with young people, and were part of the establishment of Rising Arts Agency, mobilising young and emerging creatives in Bristol for social, political and cultural change. Previous collaborators and commissioners include BBC Arts, Bristol Old Vic, Bath Spa University, Art Licks Magazine, Bristol Ideas, acta Theatre and Nationaltheater Mannheim, Germany. They co-edited the book Haunting Ashton Court: A Creative Handbook for Collective History-Making in 2023.

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